Amicus Policy Success in Impactful Supreme Court Decisions

Perhaps the biggest development in the modern Supreme Court alongside the great discretion the justices now have in dictating the cases they hear is the role of interest groups.  Over the past several decades the Supreme Court has increasingly become the forum for such groups and their attempts at persuasion; the object of persuasion being…

Supreme Court Movers and Shakers (Attorneys and Justices)

The consequences of certain decisions have repercussions far beyond those that affect the immediate cases.  While this is an indisputable aspect of decisions from courts of last resort, prognosticating the potential consequences of decisions is an art fraught with questionable inferences.  In a series of decisions the Supreme Court has a substantial policy impact. These…

A Chicken and Egg Problem

One of the more difficult questions facing Supreme Court scholars is trying to decipher the impact of the litigants. Given the secrecy with which the Supreme Court conducts the majority of its business, any effort towards understanding the decision making process is inevitably met with frustration.  The most recent insight we have into any of…

The Invitation List

On January 18th, the Supreme Court released a short order requesting O’Melveny & Myers attorney Anton Metlitsky brief and argue the case of Lucia v. SEC supporting the decision below. The case examines whether administrative law judges of the Securities and Exchange Commission are officers of the United States within the meaning of the appointments clause….

A Lot at Stake: Amicus Filers 2017/2018

Whether they know it or not, large sectors of the population have interests in the outcomes of Supreme Court cases.  With cases dealing with issues ranging from voting rights to owner’s rights in retail sales, many people are affected outside of the immediate parties to each case.  These diverse interests along with more specific interests…

Looking Back to Make Sense of the Court’s (Relatively) Light Workload

There have been interesting discussions as of late regarding the Supreme Court’s light workload and how it is getting even lighter.  Evidence of this decline can be found in quantitative analyses of the Supreme Court’s work.  It is a not a subject addressed by any member of the Court.  The Chief Justice, for example, did mention…

A New Era in SCOTUS Textualism

Legal interpretation begins with a legal text. At least in theory it does.  While in practice this is not always the case, textualism has become synonymous with conservatism in recent Court eras primarily due to Justice Scalia’s reliance on the language of statutory texts.  In practice, a textualist approach is not limited by judicial ideology and…

The Next Nominee to the Supreme Court

For all of the criticism the Trump Administration has received in recent weeks and months, one thing that Republicans almost universally agree upon is that President Trump has done well in reshaping the federal judiciary.  This distinction even led to the genesis of stress balls with the caption “But Gorsuch!” distributed at the most recent Federalist…

Who’s on the Case: Successful Cert Petitions 2017

The Supreme Court has its calendar set through January 2018 with ten cases already accepted for argument that are as of yet unscheduled.  The total number of case grants so far is 53, and with consolidated cases this will lead to 47 arguments.  This puts the Court on pace for one of the slowest grant rates…

Name Dropping in Oral Argument

Supreme Court oral argument is the setting where attorneys get to present their cases to the justices. It is a chance for justices to ask questions and for attorneys to convey important information; especially information that might not be contained in the briefs.  Oral argument also functions as a setting for dialogue.  In this respect,…

A Dearth of Female Attorneys at Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Female attorneys have a long history arguing before the Supreme Court dating back to Belva Lockwood’s argument in 1880. While Lockwood’s argument helped proverbially break the glass ceiling for women to practice before the Supreme Court, such opportunities have proven difficult to come by as female attorneys only make up a small fraction of the…

Attorneys in the Clutch

Earlier this year I ran a blog post on the most powerful justices across time, which focused on their decisions in cases with single vote margin majorities.  That post accounted for the decision makers, but it did not consider the attorneys whose arguments factor into the justices’ decision calculi.  This post takes a look at…